Emily Freeman is the winner of first prize in the inaugural Philip Pyke Memorial Prize from creative writing charity First Story for her poem ‘Our Lover’s Discourse.’

Emily, who has been writing poetry since her early teens, completed the Charity’s 'Young Writers Programme' in 2020-21 through her school, The Dukeries Academy in Nottinghamshire.

She said:

“I am grateful and touched to receive this award – one that fosters the confidence and creativity of young writers like myself. It is delightful to see that so many of us have continued writing since completing the programme and can participate in this vision. Moments like this really motivate me.”

Emily Freeman

Emily’s poem is inspired by Roland Barthes’ poem ‘A Lover’s Discourse’ which she studied in a Practical Criticism seminar at Cambridge last year. She said:

“He [Barthes] writes: 'to try to write love is to confront the muck of language; that region of hysteria where language is both too much and too little'. 

I decided to tackle these statements in poem about University, young adult relationships and the mechanics of conversation.”

Her poems are also published in Cambridge and Oxford's The Mays in 2023 and 2024, Hive South Yorkshire and Mslexia. As part of her prize, Emily receives a week-long writing course delivered by Arvon.

During her undergraduate studies, Emily has developed interests in Renaissance and early modern literature, and mid-twentieth century American poetry. 

She has just completed her final English exams and will begin a PGCE in September at Jesus College, Cambridge. 

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